A scheme which aims to connect job seekers who want to increase their fitness levels has started its autumn program in Burngreave.
Walking 4 Purpose has partnered up with Aspiring Communities Together at the Fir Vale Centre for the Wednesday sessions.
The team at the centre did a trial run of the program last month, embedding Walking 4 Purpose with English classes and employability skills workshops, both of which were hugely successful.
Usha Blackham, a community cohesion worker at the centre, said: “A lady came from S7 and she really found it useful because she’s excluded socially and she doesn’t know a lot of young people where she lives. She’s quite out of her zone and she didn’t know how to meet people, so she just turned up to one of our sessions. From then on, we’ve not been able to get rid of her.
Walking 4 Purpose has given us a means to help people get out, meet people and learn new skills. It’s been a really good project for me.”
The project, which also takes place at other locations in the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is open to Sheffield residents who are aged over 16 and actively looking for work.
The organisers and participants take a walk through the parks and green spaces in the area. They chat and get to know each other while they exercise, before heading back to the centre for the employability skills workshop.
Yasmin Ikbal, one of the program’s participants, said: “It’s good for your health and it’s just good to go out and get some fresh air and see the nature. It motivates you to walk a bit more, and you get to meet friends and new people. It’s also motivated me to look for a job.”
Walking 4 Purpose is one of many schemes run by Active Burngreave, an initiative which aims to encourage sport and weekly physical activity to reduce social isolation, anti-social behaviour and unemployment.
Tom Hughes, team leader of Sheffield City Council’s Physical Activity and Sport Team, said: “A huge part of the project is building confidence in the individuals and that can come in many forms, from just raising awareness of what is available locally and showing them how to get there, to supporting them improve their English or employability skills through workshops and spending time with different people.
The social element is also huge, getting the group out into their community, talking to one another and also taking them to places they have never visited, sometimes areas, parks and green spaces close to where they live.”
The sessions start at 11am on Wednesday mornings.